Minutes

KEY SUMMARIES

Township of Tehkummah

April 18, 201818 April 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting of council for the Township of Tehkummah. During the closed session, the clerk left the meeting room, and no closed meeting minutes were taken. The Ombudsman found that the municipality failed to fulfill its statutory obligation to record council’s proceedings. The Ombudsman recommended that the township ensure that both open and closed session minutes are kept of all meetings of council, local boards, and committees. The Ombudsman also recommended that meeting records are complete and accurately reflect all of the substantive and procedural items that were discussed, and that meetings are audio and/or video recorded.

City of Niagara Falls

May 12, 201712 May 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Niagara Falls to discuss in camera the sale of property. The city audio records its closed session meetings. The closed session minutes for the meeting did not reflect council’s discussion or resolutions. The Ombudsman noted that audio recordings should not replace the written records as required by the Municipal Act, 2001. While an audio recording can provide a record of discussions held in camera, in this case, the audio recording of the closed session was of low quality, and it was difficult to hear all statements and to attribute statements to particular individuals.

Township of Bonfield

November 23, 201523 November 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed two closed meetings held by the Public Works Committee for the Township of Bonfield. The Ombudsman noted that the committee’s open session minutes only recorded the resolutions passed by the committee. The Ombudsman also found that the committee excluded the clerk during the closed session minutes and did not take any formal minutes for that portion of the meeting. The Ombudsman found that the municipality’s practices led to little substantive content of the committee’s discussion being recorded. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality ensure that both open and closed session minutes are kept of all meetings of council, local boards, and committees. The Ombudsman also recommended that meeting records be complete and accurately reflect all of the substantive and procedural items that were discussed, and that meetings be audio and/or video recorded. Finally, the Ombudsman recommended that if the committee’s clerk delegates minute-taking responsibilities, and if the clerk is not attending the meeting, the delegation should be made formally in writing.

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Village of Casselman

July 03, 201803 July 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Village of Casselman. During the closed session, council agreed to proceed with an offer of a contract of employment. The minutes did not record this as an in camera direction to staff or as an open session resolution. The Ombudsman recommended that closed session votes comply with the Municipal Act, 2001 and that council clearly identify the item being voted on, formally vote on it, and record the outcome in the meeting minutes.

Township of Front of Yonge

June 29, 201829 June 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a council meeting for the Township of Front of Yonge. The Ombudsman noted that the meeting minutes do not record council’s discussion about recycling bins. The municipality’s practice is to only record formal motions and votes of council in its meeting minutes. The Ombudsman noted in order to ensure complete and accurate record, all substantive and procedural items discussed at a meeting should be recorded.

Township of Tehkummah

April 18, 201818 April 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting of council for the Township of Tehkummah. During the closed session, the clerk left the meeting room, and no closed meeting minutes were taken. The Ombudsman found that the municipality failed to fulfill its statutory obligation to record council’s proceedings. The Ombudsman recommended that the township ensure that both open and closed session minutes are kept of all meetings of council, local boards, and committees. The Ombudsman also recommended that meeting records are complete and accurately reflect all of the substantive and procedural items that were discussed, and that meetings are audio and/or video recorded.

Township of Lanark Highlands

January 04, 201804 January 2018

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Lanark Highlands to discuss a number of items. The Ombudsman found that the minutes for the in camera discussion were sparse, with only the topics of the discussion listed. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality improve its record keeping practices by ensuring that the minutes include reference to the location of the meeting, the start and end time of the meeting, attendance, a detailed description of the substantive and procedural matters discussed, motions, and all votes taken.

City of Welland

November 24, 201724 November 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Welland to appoint a new member of council. The Ombudsman commended the municipality for recording open and closed meetings of council. However, in this case, the audio recording system failed to work properly during the closed meeting. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality review its audio recording system to ensure it is working properly.

Township of Tehkummah

June 16, 201716 June 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed five closed meetings held by council for the Township of Tehkummah. The Ombudsman identified several best practices to enhance the accountability and transparency of council meetings. The Ombudsman stated that keeping complete and accurate minutes of closed session meetings ensures that members of the public feel confident that matters dealt with in closed session were appropriate for in camera discussion, and that the requirements of the Municipal Act, 2001 and procedure by-law have been followed. Similarly, fulsome open meeting minutes allow members of the public who were unable to attend council meetings to understand how and why council reached certain decisions.

City of Niagara Falls

May 12, 201712 May 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Niagara Falls to discuss in camera the sale of property. The city audio records its closed session meetings. The closed session minutes for the meeting did not reflect council’s discussion or resolutions. The Ombudsman noted that audio recordings should not replace the written records as required by the Municipal Act, 2001. While an audio recording can provide a record of discussions held in camera, in this case, the audio recording of the closed session was of low quality, and it was difficult to hear all statements and to attribute statements to particular individuals.

Town of Fort Erie (Ridgeway BIA)

April 03, 201703 April 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the Board of Management for the Ridgeway Business Improvement Area (BIA) in the Town of Fort Erie to discuss the conduct of an employee of the BIA. No minutes were recorded for the meeting until weeks later by a member of the board. The Ombudsman recommended that to ensure an accurate record of proceedings, minutes should be recorded during the closed meeting.

City of Timmins

January 23, 201723 January 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed two closed meetings held by council for the City of Timmins discuss the municipality’s Canada Day 150 Celebrations. The Ombudsman noted that the minutes for the closed session did not clearly record the item discussed, the vote that took place, and the outcome of the closed session vote. The Ombudsman recommended the municipality ensure that its in camera votes comply with the Municipal Act, 2001, including being properly recorded.

City of Timmins

January 23, 201723 January 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Timmins to discuss the recruitment process to replace the retiring Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). The Ombudsman found that the closed session minutes did not clearly record the item discussed, the vote that took place, or the outcome of the closed session. The Ombudsman recommended that council for the city ensure that its in camera votes comply with the Municipal Act, 2001, including being properly recorded.

City of Greater Sudbury

January 20, 201720 January 2017

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the City of Greater Sudbury to discuss an investigation regarding a contract between the city and a transit ticket kiosk. The Ombudsman noted the in camera minutes did not provide any specific information about the discussions that took place. The Ombudsman found that municipalities must record, without note or comment, all resolutions, decisions, and other proceedings at both open and closed meetings. The Ombudsman also recommended that the city make audio and/or video recordings of its closed meetings.

Township of Bonfield

November 23, 201523 November 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed two closed meetings held by the Public Works Committee for the Township of Bonfield. The Ombudsman noted that the committee’s open session minutes only recorded the resolutions passed by the committee. The Ombudsman also found that the committee excluded the clerk during the closed session minutes and did not take any formal minutes for that portion of the meeting. The Ombudsman found that the municipality’s practices led to little substantive content of the committee’s discussion being recorded. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality ensure that both open and closed session minutes are kept of all meetings of council, local boards, and committees. The Ombudsman also recommended that meeting records be complete and accurately reflect all of the substantive and procedural items that were discussed, and that meetings be audio and/or video recorded. Finally, the Ombudsman recommended that if the committee’s clerk delegates minute-taking responsibilities, and if the clerk is not attending the meeting, the delegation should be made formally in writing.

Armour Township and Village of Burk's Falls

October 28, 201528 October 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a joint closed meeting held by council for the Village of Burk’s Falls and council for Armour Township to discuss amalgamation. The Ombudsman found that while both municipalities kept minutes of the closed session, neither recorded open session minutes. The Ombudsman recommended that both municipalities ensure they keep a complete record of all meetings, especially any decisions made during a meeting, regardless of form. The Ombudsman recommended that both municipalities make audio and/or video recordings of closed sessions.

Village of Burk’s Falls and Armour Township

October 28, 201528 October 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a joint closed meeting held by council for the Village of Burk’s Falls and council for Armour Township to discuss amalgamation. The Ombudsman found that while both municipalities kept minutes of the closed session, neither recorded open session minutes. The Ombudsman recommended that both municipalities ensure they keep a complete record of all meetings, especially any decisions made during a meeting, regardless of form. The Ombudsman recommended that both municipalities make audio and/or video recordings of closed sessions.

Township of Woolwich

August 10, 201510 August 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a number of closed meeting held by council for the Township of Woolwich. The Ombudsman found that in some instances the closed meeting record did not reflect the actual substance of the discussion that took place in camera. The Ombudsman recommended that closed session minutes accurately reflect all of the substantive and procedural items that were discussed. The Ombudsman also recommended that council make audio and/or video recordings of its closed sessions.

Township of Chamberlain

July 08, 201508 July 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a number of closed meeting held by the Township of Chamberlain. The Ombudsman found that meeting records for certain meetings were unavailable, and the meeting records that were available lacked detail or did not reflect the substance of the discussions. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality ensure that complete and accurate records are kept of all meetings and that the records reflect all of the substantive and procedural items that were discussed. The Ombudsman also recommended that council make audio and/or video recordings of its closed sessions.

Municipality of Magnetawan

June 24, 201524 June 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a meeting held by council for the Municipality of Magnetawan. The Ombudsman found that the minutes for the meeting did not include any information about the substance of council’s discussion. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality ensure that its meeting record is complete and accurately reflects all of the substantive and procedural items that were discussed. The Ombudsman also recommended that council discussions be audio recorded.

City of Hamilton

April 22, 201522 April 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by the General Issues Committee for the City of Hamilton. The Ombudsman found that the meeting minutes failed to provide any information about the closed session discussions. The Ombudsman recommended that council keep complete, detailed and accurate records of all matters discussed during closed meetings, and that council make audio and/or video recordings of its closed meetings.

Town of Bracebridge

March 18, 201518 March 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed two closed meetings held by council for the Town of Bracebridge. The Ombudsman found that the minutes only captured the resolutions considered during the in camera sessions, but did not capture the substance of the discussions. The Ombudsman recommended that council ensure that minutes of closed meetings reflect the actual substance of the discussion and that council make audio and/or video recordings of its closed sessions.

Municipality of South Huron

March 02, 201502 March 2015

The Ombudsman reviewed seven closed meetings held by council for the Municipality of South Huron. The Ombudsman found that for several of the meetings, there was a lack of information available in the minutes. For one meeting, for example, the minutes failed to provide any information about the discussions that took place. In another instance, the meeting minutes failed to record all of the topics of the in camera discussion. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality ensure that its meeting record is complete and accurately reflects all of the substantive and procedural items that were discussed. Additionally, the Ombudsman recommended that the municipality implement a practice of audio recording its closed sessions.

Township of Baldwin

December 09, 201409 December 2014

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Baldwin to discuss the qualifications of individual and identifiable candidates for the municipal works foreman position. The Ombudsman found that it was not clear from the meeting record that all of the discussions during the in camera meeting were captured in the minutes. The Ombudsman recommended that township council keep comprehensive and accurate minutes of meetings and also consider audio recording its closed meetings.

Town of Mattawa

January 11, 201111 January 2011

The Ombudsman reviewed several closed meetings held by the Ad Hoc Heritage Committee for the Town of Mattawa. The Ombudsman noted that the municipality did not have a formal record for two meetings. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality ensure it follow a practice of keeping a proper record of closed sessions consistent with the requirements of the Municipal Act, 2001.

Town of South Bruce Peninsula

July 07, 201007 July 2010

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Town of South Bruce Peninsula to discuss the staff hiring process. After conducting an investigation, the Ombudsman found several procedural violations, including issues with record-keeping during closed sessions. The Ombudsman found that while resolutions and decisions were noted in the minutes, the municipality did not keep a comprehensive and accurate record of its closed meeting discussions.

Township of Baldwin

May 23, 200923 May 2009

The Ombudsman reviewed a closed meeting held by council for the Township of Baldwin. The Ombudsman found that the municipality’s procedure by-law failed to adhere to the requirements of the Municipal Act, 2001 in a number of ways, including authorizing council to meet in closed session for reasons beyond the exceptions contained in the Act. The Ombudsman recommended that the municipality update its by-law to require notice for all meetings, properly reflect the Act’s closed meeting exceptions, establish agenda procedures, and require complete and accurate records for all council meetings.